The Coutts Museum of Art is a 501(c)3 Not for Profit Museum. Cash donations to the museum are tax-deductible under IRS code. The Coutts houses over 1,500 objects of art, including original paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. Art works for the museum were purchased primarily by Warren Hall Coutts, Jr. who traveled extensively and purchased works from art auctions all over the world. The collection includes works from Russia, China, France, Holland, England and South America. It has been enriched also by numerous donations of art by friends of the Museum. The current artistic focus of the collection is American Art and Art of the American West, with an emphasis on Midwestern artists.
Visitors can browse in a comfortable atmosphere, having the feeling of being in a private collector's home, instead of a museum. Tasteful antique furnishings, some of which belonged to the Coutts family, antique Persian rugs and artful arrangements set the mood for leisurely, relaxed browsing. Newly renovated areas are now open. These include an elevator, making the three floors of the museum accessible to all.
The Coutts Museum has several wonderful examples of the Rococo style. Prized possessions include Empress Josephine, a painting with a possibly very interesting history, by an unknown French artist and a still life by Georges Jeannin titled Floral Study. Both paintings were purchased by Mr. Coutts in Paris.
The Collection offers a wide range of twentieth century American art starting with the second largest collection of Prairie Printmakers' works in the country; including Seward, Foltz, Capps, Hotvedt, N.B. Hall, A.W. Hall, Thomas Hart Benton and Birger Sandzen. The gallery is proud to house the largest Makk collection in the United States. Americo and Eva Makk and son A.B. are a world renowned family of painters whose achievements include numerous international awards, four presidential portrait commissions and exhibitions in the rotunda of the U.S. Senate and for the Carnegie Endowment. Kansas comtemporary artists such as Robert Carver, Charles Sanderson, Frederic James, J.R. Hamil, Charles Rogers, and many others are also well represented.
Of particular interest to many visitors is the Western art section of the gallery which boasts one of the largest collection of Frederic Remington bronzes in the Midwest. Coming Through the Rye, Remington's most popular multi-figured work, is especially memorable in its jubilance of off-duty cowboys. As impressive are the many Charles M. Russell and Frank Tenny Hoffman sculptures.
An important part of the Coutts Museum is the work of local artists. Included in this section is the artwork of area artists Jim Clements, Hugh Greer, Peter Johnson, Bill Walton, Dana Hassett, Phil Epp, Cally Krallman and many others. Since 1978, a scholarship committee from the museum has awarded substantial art scholarships to deserving art students at Butler Community College in El Dorado, and law and art students at Washburn University in Topeka.